Thank God for Abhishek Bachchan.
Just when life was getting so insufferably boring in Amreeka that we even entertained fantasies of ending it all with a Saturday night special to our head, comes Bollywood’s numero uno buffoon with his hallmark simian antics in the new film Players.
Abhishek Bachchan – Antithesis of Acting
They say great actors deploy their entire bodies to deliver stunning performances.
Even the lift of an eyebrow or the faintest twitch conveys tons of meaning with the likes of Meryl Streep, Marlon Brando, Christoph Waltz, Laurence Oliver etc.
Abhishek Bachchan too is nonpareil as an actor, just that he’s an ‘extraordinary actor’ of different mettle.
Comical when he should be pensive, sad looking when he should be happy, serious when he should be elated, phony when he should be compassionate, Abhishek is a sui generis combination of Laurel and Hardy, and Johnny Walker, Rajpal Yadav and Boman Irani.
Folks, Abhishek Bachchan is the peerless Master of Unintentional Comedy with nary a competitor in sight this side of the Atlantic or that side of the Pacific.
In scene after scene, Abhishek does his damnedest to turn Players, prima facie an action movie, into a caricature and we must concede in all fairness that Bachchan Jr succeeds big time into making this entire ‘action’ film a joke.
Given Abhishek’s vaunted ‘reputation’ with moviegoers, the opening show of Players at a theater on the U.S. East Coast was, not surprisingly, 99% empty.
Italian Job – Rehash
As even the dumbest of the dumb Indian putzheads know, Players is a remake of The Italian Job, a movie we rewatched recently via a Netflix DVD.
Just in case you’re wondering, we watched the 2003 version featuring Mark ‘Charlie‘ Wahlberg, Ed Norton, Charlize Theron and Donald Sutherland.
Italian Job didn’t do much for us. Maybe, it was alright for its time (when we first watched it in NYC or NJ) but watching it nine years later when so many better movies have passed before our eyes we didn’t feel the slightest twinge of excitement.
Don’t get us wrong. Italian Job was not bad, just that it didn’t seem great enough to warrant a remake.
So it was with mixed feelings we headed out to Players this afternoon.
By the way, Players also borrows elements from Prestige and Tower Heist.
Gold Heist Turns Crap Fest
The central theme of both Italian Job and Players involves a big gold heist by a bunch of thieves led by Charlie (Mark Wahlberg in the Hollywood version and Abhishek in the Bollywood version) and a subsequent betrayal, albeit with some differences.
* The biggest difference between the Hollywood and Bollywood versions – Mark ‘Charlie’ Wahlberg oozes class while Abhishek ‘Charlie’ Bachchan reeks crass. The difference between Day and Night.
* To pander to the Indian audience’s craving for trash and phoren, Players meanders in every sense including geographically. From Amsterdam in the opening scene to Russia to Goa to Sydney to St.Petersburg to Auckland to Wellington the movie tramps along interspersed by some of the most dreadful songs and ugliest picturization we’ve had the misfortune to endure this millennium.
* If we’re talking big-time betrayal and traitors, we need big-time, quality actors with a menacing edge like Ed Norton. Not jackasses like the inept Neil Nitin Mukesh, who’s completely out of his depth and hopelessly miscast as the traitor in Players.
* The result is that Players, which started off as an action effort, quickly turns into a comical, silly affair what with drivel like the police commissioner and other officers respectfully learning The Three Rules of Thieves from prison inmates (btw, the first rule is Every thief is a kind of Artist).
* Not only does Players bring nothing new to the screen but also turns a remake exercise into an ham-handed, amateurish outcome.
The Other Stars
If Abhishek Bachchan is the principal joker of Players, Sonam Kapoor is a close second.
Utterly clueless as to what she was doing, the gal tormented us no end, more so when she flaunted her skinny legs and Manchester top.
During the dance scenes she showed no grace, during the dramatic moments she displayed no class and during the tragic periods she was unconvincing in her grief.
Bobby Deol wore the pained look of a man with a full bladder and no toilet in sight. Thank God, we didn’t have to endure him post-interval.
Vinod Khanna is utterly disgusting and unconvincing as Victor Braganza, the criminals’ mentor eying the gold to build an orphanage. Oh, really!
As of 5PM today, we’ve developed tremendous respect for the late Osho aka Bhagwan Rajneesh. Over two decades ago, rightly recognizing Vinod’s limited talents Rajneesh rewarded him with the job of gardener at his Pune ashram!
Man, Osho was wiser than we all give him credit for.
Devoid of even an atom of acting skill, Bipasha Basu’s only claim to fame is a readiness to shed her clothes. Never has the female form looked more ugly than Bipasha during the Ho Gayi Tun song/dance scene with the Russian general in Players.
The last time Bipasha was entertaining after she dropped her clothes was in the Ishq de Gali Mein song in the Bollywood comedy No Entry. Since then, it’s been downhill all the way for this dusky babe.
SearchIndia.com Rating of Players – Grotesque Effontery
The horrid acting, the insufferable music and awful picturization, ridiculous screenplay and the unclownish antics of Omi Vaidya’s Sunny and Johnny Lever’s character combine to make Players into a grotesque buffoonery.
If you’re already suicidal, Jokers oops Players will turn things around for you for unintentionally and seemingly effortlessly turning an action film into a nonsensical comedy.
But if you’re one of those boring, normal Indians in Edison, Artesia or Falls Church hoping for an entertaining 2+ hours this Bollywood crap-show aka Players will turn you suicidal.